Longitudinal associations of active commuting with wellbeing and sickness absence.
Preventive medicine 2015 ; 84: 19-26.
PubMed ID : 26740344
Our aim was to explore longitudinal associations of active commuting (cycling to work and walking to work) with physical wellbeing (PCS-8), mental wellbeing (MCS-8) and sickness absence.
We used data from the Commuting and Health in Cambridge study (2009 to 2012; n=801) to test associations between: a) maintenance of cycling (or walking) to work over a one year period and indices of wellbeing at the end of that one year period; and b) associations between change in cycling (or walking) to work and change in indices of wellbeing. Linear regression was used for testing associations with PCS-8 and MCS-8, and negative binomial regression for sickness absence.
After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, physical activity and physical limitation, those who maintained cycle commuting reported lower sickness absence (0.46, 95% CI: 0.14-0.80; equivalent to one less day per year) and higher MCS-8 scores (1.50, 0.10-2.10) than those who did not cycle to work. The association for sickness absence persisted after adjustment for baseline sickness absence. No significant associations were observed for PCS-8. Associations between change in cycle commuting and change in indices of wellbeing were not significant. No significant associations were observed for walking.
This work provides some evidence of the value of cycle commuting in improving or maintaining the health and wellbeing of adults of working age. This may be important in engaging employers in the promotion of active travel and communicating the benefits of active travel to employees.